Presented in this paper is a framework for the implementation of a robotic percussive riveting system, a new robot application for aircraft assembly. It is shown here that a successful robot application to the automation of a process requires in-depth research of the process and the interaction with the robot.For this purpose, a process planning-driven approach is proposed to guide a robot application research. A typical process planning will involve a list of key considerations including: process sequence, process parameters, process tooling, and process control.Through this list, a number of key research issues are identified for robotic percussive riveting, such as rivet pattern planning, riveting time determination, riveting tooling design and rivet insertion control. The detailed research on these issues has effectively created know-how for the successful implementation of our robotic percussive riveting system.The research results presented in this paper have been applied to implement our robotic percussive riveting system. The physical system involving three controllers for three subsystems, one for the robot, one for the tooling and one for the bucking bar gantry. The control sequence has been successfully tested and implemented to perform percussive riveting on sheet metal panels and composite panels.